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About the Eliot Scrapbook Project

In 2013, The Trustees embarked on a “Bringing Our Stories to Life” fundraising campaign. Thanks to the generosity of many donors, monies from the campaign allowed the Archives & Research Center to conserve and digitize the only physical item that we have in our collection from the founder of The Trustees, Charles Eliot: a scrapbook of newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and other documents.

On the inside cover, Eliot’s handwritten note explains the purpose of the book: “Newspaper scraps concerning Trustees of Public Reservations and Metropolitan Parks Commission.” The first item is his seminal letter entitled, "The Waverly Oaks," which was published in Garden and Forest in 1890. The rest of the scrapbook's contents date from 1888 to 1901, including loose articles that were laid in the back of the book after Eliot’s death in 1897.

The conservation treatment necessary to preserve the scrapbook required alkalizing the pages and clippings, and then encapsulating each individual page. A digital image of each page was taken upon completion of the work to further extend the lifespan of the item. These images also made it possible to share the scrapbook online, introducing Eliot and his work to new audiences.

Special thanks to:

  • Ronald H. Epp, historian and author of Creating Acadia National Park: The Biography of George Bucknam Dorr. Epp discovered Eliot’s scrapbook in the files of Eliot’s nephew, Charles Eliot II, and brought it to The Trustees.
  • Dakota Jackson, researcher. Jackson did the tedious work of assigning keywords to the many articles and other items in the scrapbook, creating an index of people referenced throughout the articles as well as an annotated bibliography. She also synthesized the scrapbook’s contents and identified its major themes and potential topics for future research.